The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
This piece of land, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, is Hanoi’s most treasured structure known as The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.
Why you should add this place to your itinerary: If you’re looking to infuse history and learning into your Hanoi itinerary, skip the Hanoi beaches and plan a trip to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long instead. While not as breathtaking as its sister tourist attractions Halong Bayor Ba Vi National Park, the imperial citadel still holds historical appeal for many visitors.
About: If you find yourself in the heart of Hanoi and notice a stone wall stretched along Nguyen Tri Phurong road, feed your curiosity and do not hesitate to enter. This piece of land, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, is Hanoi’s most treasured structure known as The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.
Plan your visit
On July 31, 2010, this UNESCO World Heritage Site became a major symbol of the city’s past. Though its walls are starting to crumble and its colors beginning to fade, the country’s flag still proudly flies on top of the complex’s 33.4-meter tower.
Like most cultural or heritage sites, the best way to explore the borders of Thang Long is through visual silence. Follow one of the citadel’s pathways, and you might just see something unexpected.
The main sites to take note of are the North Gate – a humongous red brick structure with plants peeping through each gap – and the D67 Tunnel and House, previously the headquarters of the Vietnam People’s Army during the war from 1954 to 1975.
Some rules: Entering this site is a breath of fresh air and, just like a time machine, transports travelers to a Hanoi of times gone by. Because of its cultural importance, visitors are expected to treat the citadel with respect. Refrain from littering, disrespectful talk, and the like. Vandalism, cursing, and disturbing the area’s natural appearance is strictly prohibited, and if you plan to take photos, you might be asked to get permission from the management board of the site. Be mindful and do not stray away from the authorized path, and stick to your map.
Entrance fees: The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is open on all days (except Mondays) from 8:30am to 11:30am and 2:00pm to 5:00pm. Tickets are priced at VND30,000 per person and VND15,000 for Vietnamese students and seniors aged 60 and up. Children under the age of 15 and those who served the country during the war are free from paying admission.
How to get there: If you’re in Hanoi Old Quarter, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is roughly 2km away. If you want to walk, it will take approximately half an hour, but is doable enough if you’ve got water and an umbrella to protect you from the heat. Otherwise, you can always hail a taxi to get you there in just a few minutes.